Most enterprise have already spent tons of money on their enterprise backup solutions before adopting Virtualization, and were more likely to adapt the same backup solution after adopting Virtualization as long their backup vendor offer Virtualization integrated solution that fits their needs to save on cost. On the other hand, a large portion of small businesses were using the default backup tools that was originally shipped with their OS which made backing up virtualized environment a new challenge to them and a question they keep coming up with is “what backup solution should we look at that can fit our Virtual Infrastructure backup needs without costing us an arm and leg?”. Although many Virtualization Backup Solutions are out there, I have chosen the below three solutions as I have the most exposure to as well seeing them quite often with a good feedback in the field.
Before going over what each of these solutions has to offer, you might want to educate your self about the 7 Myths that often confuse people during choosing the solution for backup & replication of their Virtual environment by reading the paper by vExpert Eric Siebert 7 Myths about Backup & DR in Virtual Environments White Paper. Now that we have Fuds and Myths out of the way, below are three great VMware vSphere backup products that does not cost arm and legs.
VMware Data Recovery
Anyone who worked with VMware vSphere for a while knows that VMware vSphere come with its own free built in backup solution called VMware Data Recovery. VMware Data Recovery is delivered as an appliance that can be deployed in no time. Below are few points that I really like about VMware Data Recovery:
1- Its free as its included with all the VMware vSphere Editions, so you have already paid for it!
2- Its deployed as an appliance, which mean you can deploy it and start your backups in no time.
3-It benefits from most of the vStorage API for Data Protection features that come with vSphere like change blocktracking, File level restore, Image backup, VSS consistent backup.
4- It utilizes de-duplication which can save plenty of space that could be wasted by duplicated data when doing backup of multiple VMs and in turn produce a great cost saving.
VMware Data Recovery wish list:
1- Taking backup to tape or remote site is challenging with VMware Data Recovery
Below is a great video giving you all the info you need about VMware Data Recovery
Trilead VM Explorer
What has got me to try Trilead VM Explorer is my surprise with their pricing model. Trilead VM Explorer is priced at 760USD / environment (including free support and 1 year upgrades). Unlike most other backup solutions vendors for Virtualization environments which charge per how many hosts, number of physical CPUs, or VMs exist in your environment, Trilead price their VM Explorer for the full environment at 760USD which is surprisingly cheap when compared with any Virtualization backup solution from a third party vendors. The good news while Trilead price is quite low, it has a lot to offer as below:
- Its easy to install and use. It take less than 10 minutes from the time you start downloading to the time you are ready to backup your environment.
- It offers a multiple hypervisor support, in case you have multiple hypervisors in your environment.
- It include replication capability within the same backup software, which give you a cheap and a quick Disaster recovery option.
- It benefits from most of the vStorage API for Data Protection features that come with vSphere like change block tracking, File level restore, Image backup, VSS consistent backup.
- Dynamic compression can be used to help replication over slow links.
Trilead VM Explorer wish list:
While Trilead VM Explorer offers all the essential backup and replication features that should be sufficient to most SMB customers, it does not offer the more sophisticated features like Instant VM Recovery & SureBackup features that is offered by vendors like Veeam for premium cost. If all you need is a backup/replication solution that offers all the essential features at a great cost, then Trilead can be the product for you.
Veeam Backup & Replication
In my opinion, Veeam Backup & Replication is the most sophosticated solution between the three solutions reviewed here. Veeam has always managed to be ahead of the curve on producing Virtualization backup/replication features that distinguish them from other offering in the market which allow them to charge at a premium. While Veeam Backup & Replication can put a check mark next to all the advantages highlighted above in the Trilead VM Explorer beside pricing, it has the below distinguished features:
Instant VM Recovery: It is a feature which allow you to restart/run a VM directly from the backup without having to wait for restore/copying time. Check the below video for more info on Veeam Instant VM Recovery:
SureBackup: Automatically verify the recoverability of every backup, every time. Test backups by running VMs from them in an isolated Virtual Lab. Watch the video below for more details on SureBackup.
U-AIR (Universal Application-Item Recovery): Recover individual objects from ANY virtualized application without the use of agents, additional backups or software tools. Check the following video for more details on U-Air
As most things in the IT world there is no single perfect solution to every environment. The best backup/DR solution for your virtual environment will highly depend on your requirements and need, though the focus of this post was to show SMBs what these three backup/replication solutions has to offer and give you quick hints that might help you to find the right solution for your environment a bit quicker.